Raising Magnolias

Because it's never too late for happily ever after…

A lovely home. A lovely neighborhood.

I was 21 when I first left Arkansas.

I was 25 when I first started praying that I could come back.


It doesn’t matter the quote you find. They all applied.

Home is where your story begins.

Home is where your mom is.

Home is where your heart is.

I wanted to go home.


From Nebraska, we moved to Minnesota. I loved my husband.

I did not love Minnesota.

I missed my family and I was cold.

All the time.

And so I prayed that we could move South.

3 years later, God said yes.

South Dakota.

Really, Lord?

I loved my husband.

I loved my friends and my neighbors and my job and the families and the schools and the trails—

But I did not love South Dakota.

I missed my family and I was cold.

All. The. Time.

And so I prayed.

And after 11 years, the Lord said yes.

You’re pretty caught up on the Fremont journey (more than you probably want to be) so I’ll jump ahead.

A friend was sitting on my couch. The Lord has crazy blessed me with amazing friends and I told her my story, the one I won’t blog about and I told her the scary (and exciting) truth.

I need to find a home to rent before November 1st.

Some wonderful friends had suggested an apartment. I didn’t want to live in an apartment.

Some wonderful friends suggested a different part of town. I didn’t want to move to a different part of town.

My mom had prayed. Specifically.

For a lovely home. In a lovely neighborhood.

And I had drawn the lines for that lovely neighborhood. It was a rectangle of property within which I wanted to live.

And my friend was listening and very casually and almost quietly said:

I know of a house. (And I’m paraphrasing only for the purposes of the entire world not knowing where I live). 🙂

To rent.

I will skip the boring stuff. I will skip the calls to my realtor friend and the 3 way call with the landowner about my puppies and I will skip the tears that sprung up (and this time not from me, but from my friend who could totally see what was about to happen!) and well—I guess I didn’t really skip it, but trust me.

I could’ve made that story a lot longer.

The next day we went to see the house. The outside of the house is not beautiful. And the lots are so small that if I reach outside my bathroom window I could hold hands with my neighbor, Larry.

And if went to the other side of the house, and reached out of my garage, I could hold hands with my other neighbor, Larry.

Hi. I’m Larry and this is my brother Darrel. And my other brother Darrel.

And I’ve met both Larry’s and my new neighbors have a LOT to live up to because we are leaving amazing neighbors and that’s the sad part so I’m gonna skip it today and I think the Larry’s are also going to be good to us, but I won’t be holding their hands.

That was a joke.

About small lots.

I’ve been told my entire life and it’s true and it’s scriptural and yes—

We walk in.

To a lovely home. And I know it immediately.

It’s what’s on the inside that counts.

My mom turned to me later that day and said, “A lovely home in a lovely neighborhood.”

I called the realtor on Monday. Picked up the keys on Monday.

You know that story about the guy in the flood on top of his roof praying for the Lord to save him? And a passerby comes in a boat and offers him safety and the guy in the flood says, “That’s OK. I’m waiting on the Lord.” And then I forget the rest. There was a helicopter and he says no again and in the end he drowns and well I forget the whole story, but I remember the important part.

When God sends you a boat in a flood. You say yes.

Even if it hasn’t started raining yet. You say yes.

So, 2 months early—

We started moving.

My mom who pretends like she’s 45 instead of 65, driving back and forth and back and forth says she will stay—

And help.

And she thinks we are just going to pack up a few boxes and she thinks we are going to take the next couple of months and strategically and carefully and in a non-breaking our backs, killing ourselves kind of way that we are going to slowly.





We’re jumping into the gift.

No, not even jumping. It’s really more like that cannon-ball I did this summer for the kids.

Yes! We are doing a cannon-ball and not even plugging our noses.

And there are splashes of glory.

And waves of giving.

And we are crazy-blessed.

This morning I’m working, but my precious friend Jenny is being given free reign with a hammer and nails.

My mom will be packing and unpacking and lining the kitchen with shelf paper.

Between us, she’s a little obsessed with shelf paper. 🙂

We custom built our kitchen two years ago and I look around my new cozy little kitchen and I can’t really figure out where the food is going to go and I can’t really figure out how I’m going to live without a pull out trash cabinet and I can’t really figure out how my kids are going to reach things from the freezer that now sits high above the refridgerator but I know that my shelves are going to be clean and freshly lined with shelf paper.


I love my friends. I love my covenant family. I love my job.

And Fremont’s growing on me.

Just kidding. I love Fremont. Because of the people, I love Fremont.

I love my children.

And their dad.

And I’m ready to jump in.

But the obviousy truth is that for the past 2 1/2 years I have prayed to moved South.

Because I miss my family.

And I am cold.

All. The. Time.

So yesterday, 3rd or 4th van load to the new house. It’s like 8 blocks from my house and it involves one street of travel.

I look down to check my fuel level and I see it.



8 blocks South.

I continue to ask and the Lord continues to answer and He must think He’s pretty clever.

And funny.

And this I know. He is faithful.

Tonight my rock-star heavy lifters will come and lift heavy stuff (and part of me really wants to use the other s-word) but only as a joke because the things they will be moving are important to me and not stuff or the s-word.

And by the weekend, one week after my friend said—I know of a house—we’ll be moved in.

To a lovely home in a lovely neighborhood.

And home is none of the things in the pinterest quotes. And home isn’t about journeys or hearts or plaques on a wall. It isn’t about custom made cabinetry or pull out trash receptacles, either.

I’m a mom.

Home is where my children are.

Coulter, Emma Claire and I are moving.

To a lovely home. In a lovely neighborhood.


(ps. I know this is no excuse, because today I’m not crying and I’m well-rested and I should really be able to spell but something is wrong with my spell check!!!)

(ps.s. Coulter and Emma Claire will also have a lovely home with their Dad and they will continue to enjoy the benefits of a pantry and a side by side refridgerator. And I only point this out (half joking about the kitchen benefits) to say that they are blessed by both of us and will have two lovely homes.

In one rectangle of a lovely neighborhood.

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